HOUSTON – (Nov. 14, 2022) – Rice University and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) have signed an agreement to deepen and broaden their commitment to collaborate on joint research, teaching and training.
The agreement is the latest development in Rice’s international expansion through high-impact partnerships, extending the university’s global reach and reputation.
A ceremony to sign the three-year cooperation agreement was held today in Kanpur. The pact builds upon roots established by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in early January 2020, to work on energy, materials and sustainability initiatives.
“I believe Rice’s partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur will be the jewel in the crown of our efforts in India,” said Rice President Reginald DesRoches, who sees the continued expansion of Rice Global as a top presidential priority.
“IIT Kanpur’s collaboration with Rice University has been going from strength to strength,” said Professor Abhay Karandikar, director of IITK. “Under the Rice-IITK Collaborative Center, we have initiated important joint research, organized a virtual joint symposium for faculty collaborations and have provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our students.
“I am sure this next chapter of our partnership will lead to strengthening our relations further,” he said.
“The signing of this cooperation agreement will significantly strengthen the Rice University-IIT Kanpur relationship both in terms of the joint degree programs as well as joint research initiatives,” added Professor Dhirendra Katti, dean of international relations at IITK. “We look forward to building a strong and long-term relationship with Rice.”
The partnerships already formed through the MOU, which called for an exchange of faculty, staff and undergraduate and postgraduate students, led to the new agreement, said Caroline Levander, Rice’s vice president of global and digital strategy.
“The cooperation agreement is a next big step in our relationship,” Levander said. “It is an affirmation of the robust and dynamic partnership Rice has with IITK, and I look forward to working closely with the IITK leadership team in the years ahead to ensure the broadest and deepest university-side partnership.”
Levander said the next initiatives would focus on energy and environment; health care and biomedical sciences; and data, information and computer science and engineering. She said the agreement will also support joint projects proposed by faculty across both institutions, and that there will be a call for proposals in January.
In the past three years, the joint Rice-IITK Collaborative Center has held a series of research seminars and fostered the exchange of students and ideas virtually and, when possible during the pandemic, physically.
Pulickel Ajayan, Rice’s Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering and chair of the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, said steady growth of the program is the immediate goal. “We want to build this partnership across disciplines over time,” he said. “Most specifically we hope that this relationship will foster sustainable academic collaborations between faculty at Rice and IITK.”
Ajayan, Seiichi Matsuda, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies, and Luay Nakhleh, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, represented Rice at the signing in Kanpur.
“One of my top goals as Rice’s new president is to expand our university’s global reach,” DesRoches said. “Relationships with students, faculty and researchers from across the world foster a healthy exchange of ideas, opportunities for future cooperation, research collaboration, faculty exchange and student training.”
To that end, he has suggested partnerships with the Centers for Research and Education in Science and Technology Kolkata and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore as possibilities in the near future.
DesRoches expects to lead a presidential delegation to India next spring to advance these and other potential institutional partnerships. Joining him will be Levander, Vice President of Innovation Paul Cherukuri and Vice President of Research Ramesh Ramamoorthy, among others. The delegation will visit Kanpur as well as institutions in Bangalore, Calcutta and Hyderabad.
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